Complete review of Solaria solar panels

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Solaria solar panels logo
Solaria began in 2000 as a utility-scale solar company but has since transitioned to manufacturing residential solar panels. Image source: Solaria

Solaria has been manufacturing solar panels for over a decade. The company initially focused on utility-scale solar power, but have since become a main player in the residential market. Solaria is headquartered in Fremont, California and manufactures their panels in both California and Asia. 

Solaria’s success in home solar comes down to three things: quality, performance, and design. Their solar panel line, dubbed The PowerX, strikes the balance between being highly efficient and having a discreet design, without costing you an arm and a leg. 

So, should you consider installing Solaria solar panels on your roof? Let’s find out. 

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    What products does Solaria offer?

    solaria solar panelSolaria’s unique shingled solar panel overlaps solar shingles for increased production and aesthetic value. Image source: Solaria

    Solaria sells one line of high efficiency panels, The PowerXT Pure Black panel. All of Solaria’s panels are designed using shingled monocrystalline solar cells. Now, don’t get this confused with solar shingles, which are shingles that have solar cells in them. 

    Shingled solar panels are still full-sized solar panels, but the solar cells are cut and then overlapped (AKA shingled) so there are more solar cells in the module compared to conventional panels. Shingling solar cells increases the amount of solar energy the panels can produce, and increases their durability against things like wind, snow, and rain. 

    Not only do these shingled panels perform well, they also look great. Any wiring can be hidden beneath the overlapping cells, and the amount of the panel’s backsheet that is visible is minimized, which leads to a very uniform appearance on the face of the panel. It also complements Solaria’s all-black solar panel design. 

    The PowerXT Pure Black Panel comes in four different wattages, each with varying technical specifications: 

    Solaria PowerXT Pure Black solar panel specifications
    Specification Solaria PowerXT-360R-PD Solaria PowerXT-365R-PD Solaria PowerXT-370R-PD Solaria PowerXT-400R-PM
    Power rating 360 W 365 W 370 W 400 W
    Efficiency 19.9% 20.2% 20.5% 20.2%
    Power tolerance -0% / + 3% -0% / + 3% -0% / + 3% -0% / + 3%
    Temperature coefficient -0.39% / °C -0.39% / °C -0.39% / °C -0.39% / °C
    Warranty 25-year product and linear performance warranty 25-year product and linear performance warranty 25-year product and linear performance warranty 25-year product and linear performance warranty
    Data sheet Sheet 1 Sheet 2 Sheet 3 Sheet 4

    Solaria did at one time offer PowerXT Pure Black AC solar panels with built-in Enphase microinverters, however, these panels are not listed on their main product page, so it’s unclear if they are still available. 

    Power rating 

    The power rating of a solar panel tells you how much electricity it can produce. Solaria’s solar panels fall right in line with industry standards when it comes to their power rating. Most solar systems installed in the U.S use solar panels that range between 300 W and 370 W. 

    Solaria does offer a 400 W residential panel, which is a bit higher than what most homeowners need. The 400 W PowerXT is best suited for homes that have limited roofing space, as fewer panels can be installed to cover your energy needs. 

    Efficiency rating 

    The efficiency rating of a solar panel is the measure of how much sunlight that hits the panel will be converted into usable electricity.

    Most solar panels in the U.S. have an average efficiency rating between 15% and 20%. All of Solaria’s panels fall on the higher end of this spectrum, with efficiencies between 19.9% to 20.5%. 

    Efficiency isn’t the most important thing you need to look at when considering solar panels, but it is good to keep in the back of your mind. You can learn more about solar panel efficiency and when it matters most from SolarReviews founder, Andy Sendy in this video: 

    Power tolerance 

    Solar panels have their power rating listed, but the actual amount of power it can produce will fluctuate. The power tolerance tells you how much production can fluctuate under Standard Test Conditions (STC), and can help give you a better understanding of how the panel might operate in the real world. 

    All of Solaria’s panels come with a power rating of -0/+3%. This means that under STC, Solaria’s solar panels will never produce less than what they are rated to produce, but they could produce up to 3% more. So for example, Solaria’s 360 W modules will always operate at at least 360 W, but could operate as high as 370 W. 

    Most solar panels on the market today have a power tolerance rating between +3% to +5%, so Solaria falls right in line. Having a -0% power tolerance rating indicates that the panels will operate well on your roof, and that Solaria has a high-quality manufacturing process. 

    Temperature coefficient 

    The amount of power your solar panel can actually produce depends on a few factors, but temperature is one of the most important. The hotter your solar panel is, the less power it can produce. 

    The temperature coefficient gives you an idea of how much a panel’s power output will be impacted as the surface temperature of the solar panel increases. Most solar panels today have temperature coefficients between -0.3% and -0.5%, meaning the power capacity of the panel will fall by 0.3% for every 1°C the panel’s surface temperature increases. 

    Solaria’s panels all have a temperature coefficient of -0.39%, which falls right in line with industry standards. 

    How much do Solaria solar panels cost?

    You can install an average-sized (7 kW) Solaria PV system for a total cost of between $17,500 to $21,700, before incentives. This ends up working out to around $2.50 per watt to $3.10 per watt, which is in the same range as the current average cost of solar in the U.S. 

    The actual price you pay for a Solaria system will depend on where you live, which Solaria model you install, and the solar installer you choose.

    $17,000 definitely isn’t pocket change, but considering the performance of Solaria’s panels, it’s a steal. Plus, this is the price of a solar installation before any incentives, like the 26% federal solar tax credit, are applied. You can find out what incentives are available in your area by using our state-of-the-art solar panel cost and savings calculator

    What is the warranty like on Solaria solar panels?

    Solaria offers two great warranties on their panels. Their 25-year Freedom-from-Defects warranty covers the panels from material and workmanship defects for 25 years. Most solar panel manufacturers today only offer 10 to 12 year product warranties, which really sets Solaria apart. 

    The other warranty you get with Solaria panels is a Power Output warranty. As solar panels age, they lose some of their ability to produce electricity. The power output warranty tells you how much you can expect your panels to degrade over time. Solaria’s warranty states that the power output of the PowerXT Pure Black panels will not drop by more than 2% in the first year, and no more than 0.5% annually for the remainder of the 25-year warranty period. 

    Solaria’s power output warranty falls in line with industry standards. Most solar panels you see on the market today will have an initial Year 1 degradation rate between 2% and 3% and an annual rate of 0.5%. 

    Despite that, Solaria hasn’t made it onto Bloomberg’s Tier 1 solar manufacturers list. Getting onto the Tier 1 list means that a manufacturing company’s financials are reliable, and indicates that if you were to need warranty coverage, the company will be around to help you out. 

    Solaria not being on the Tier 1 list doesn’t mean they won’t be able to honor your warranty in 20 years, but it’s just something to keep in mind while you're comparison shopping. 

    Should you go solar with Solaria solar panels?

    Solaria has been in business since 2000, and has been climbing the ranks as a popular residential solar panel manufacturer ever since. Their biggest selling point is their competitive pricing, as well as their sleek design. And you don’t have to sacrifice on performance either, as they have higher efficiency ratings than many competing panels, as well as a high energy yield. 

    The biggest downside to Solaria is that they haven’t made it onto Bloomberg’s Tier 1 solar manufacturers list. Typically, we recommend choosing Tier 1 solar panels for added long-term reliability, but that doesn’t mean Solaria panels won’t work well on your roof. 

    Solaria has gotten other solar accolades though, like passing rigorous third-party product testing in 2018 to be listed as a DNV GL Top Performer. The company has also been trusted for multiple projects across the United States, like the revolutionary Soleil Lofts, a virtual power plant apartment complex in Utah. 

    Overall, you should consider going with Solaria if you’re on a tighter budget but need high power and high efficiency solar modules. They have great warranty terms, are manufactured in the U.S., and look awesome on your roof. Local solar installers will be able to help you get a better understanding of what brand of solar panels are right for your specific home. 

    See what local installers are charging for Solaria solar panel systems

    Key takeaways

    • Solaria is a USA-based solar panel manufacturing company that produces residential, monocrystalline, shingled solar panels.
    • The PowerXT Pure Black panel comes in four different wattages and is Solaria’s only line of solar modules.
    • All of Solaria’s performance metrics fall in line with industry standards, with their efficiency and power ratings coming in on the higher side of the spectrum.
    • Solaria offers a 25-year product warranty and a 25-year performance warranty.
    • You can expect to pay between  $17,500 and $21,700 for a Solaria solar system before incentives.
    • The biggest downside is that Solaria is not a Tier 1 solar panel manufacturer, so they could be considered less reliable than competing brands.
     

     - Author of Solar Reviews

    Catherine Lane

    SolarReviews Blog Author

    Catherine is a researcher and content specialist at SolarReviews. She has strong interests in issues related to climate and sustainability which led her to pursue a degree in environmental science at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

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